Celebrate red colored fruits and vegetables for Valentine’s day this year!
Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables means there are wide range of colors on your plate. Each color provides our bodies with different health benefits. Red foods are heart healthy! The red color in a strawberry, for example, contains antioxidants that protect the body, specifically the heart and blood vessels. Let’s break down the health benefits of red foods in a way that makes sense to kids. One way to do this is through hands-on activities.
Hands-On Heart Healthy Red Foods Activity
- Gather up a variety of fresh, frozen, or canned red colored fruits and vegetables (pick at least 2)
- Red apple
- Red grape
- Red beet
- Red bell pepper
- Red potato
- Prepare selected red fruits and vegetables to an age appropriate size and texture (ex: slicing red grapes in halves or quarters)
- Put the selected food on a pate or surface your kids are familiar with. Give them time to examine, smell, and taste the foods.
- Ask your kids what they thought about the food (thumbs up, sideways, or down) along with descriptor words, like juicy, refreshing, sweet, tart, etc.
- Have a conversation with your kids about how red foods are heart healthy. Talk in simple terms that are age appropriate:
- Elementary school age: “red foods give you a strong heart”
- Middle school age: “red foods contain compounds to protect you heart and help to make your heart strong”
- High school age “Tomatoes contain a compound called antioxidants which protect your heart against damage. Red foods help support our heart and blood vessels to be strong for the activities we enjoy doing. This is why we add red foods to our plate”
Valentine’s day is a fun day for your kids, both at school and at home! Your kids will most likely get sweets at school, so do your best to not place a negative value on those sweets. For example, avoid saying that candy is “bad”. Rather, let them know they can enjoy their Valentine’s day sweets and ask them to notice how they feel afterwards. This allows your kids to form a healthy relationship with all types of foods, including sweets!
At home, you have the opportunity to provide healthy Valentine’s day snacks.
Some healthy Valentine’s day snack Ideas are:
Heart healthy trail mix
Yogurt covered strawberries
Frozen yogurt bark with berries
Red beet colored muffins or cupcakes
Conversation cuties (clementines with stickers on the peel)
Heart shaped foods (heart shaped cookie cutter sandwiches)
A healthy Valentine’s day snack you can try at home today: Strawberry Energy Bites
Strawberry Energy Bites
- food processor
- 1 cup strawberries fresh or frozen
- 1 1/2 cup oats
- 1 cup sunflower seeds unsalted
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
- 2 tbsp shredded coconut for coating
- Wash hands and prepare a clean work surface.
- Wash strawberries and measure out by removing strawberry tops and cutting in halves. Then place into a food processor.
- Place all other ingredients in the food processor and blend until a dough forms.
- Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
- Scoop the dough into tablespoon sized amounts and roll into a ball with clean hands (damp hands will help to roll without sticking).
- Optional to roll the Energy Bites in shredded coconut to cover it.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!
Leave a Reply